Back in March, when things looked so grim, so dark, so utterly menacing, this blog had a purpose. Admittedly it had two purposes. One was to stop my phone from ringing - selfish, but practical. The other was a weak, poor attempt to replace something I was missing. Something that was so vital to my being, yet impossible to recognize in the state of mind I was in - I needed a friend.
Many people were genuinely surprised when I started a blog because they know me to be intensely private about many things, and exposing my family's life to the world seemed so counter-intuitive. Maybe it was my way of crying out for help.
And help came.
It came in the form of family and friends that overwhelmed my world with love. Without so many of the people that have helped us, it would have been impossible to sit in my room overlooking the ocean, working for a dream client, earning good money for my family, and feeling any sort of peace in my soul.
So many things that are amazing to me have happened. I'm grateful to Vic (Dad) for standing by my side and helping me bring his daughter home. I'm grateful to my sisters (Jenna, too) for the wonderful friendship and love they've given me. Dawn, Audie and Jenna are not only classy, wonderful sisters, I count them as my friends for life. While I've been away, I've truly missed them all.
I'm grateful to my Mom for all the nights she spent making sure I could at least pretend to sleep in the hospital while my loved ones slept in their hospital beds with blinking lights, beeping machines and cords, wires and tubes connected to them. There's nothing like your Mom to help make things a little easier. I've learned that being a parent doesn't mean you can take the pain away, but you CAN make it easier and she did.
I'm grateful to Doug and Erik have truly shown what brothers are all about. I respect you both enormously.
I'm grateful to Father Croglio, the man that has married and remarried me to my loving bride. The man that came to my side within hours of hearing that I needed him.
I'm grateful to my father for an email he wrote me where he took hundreds if not thousands of pounds off my shoulders when he told me that I wasn't going crazy and that my burden wasn't that of one man. I can't tell you what two lines in an email can do for your spirits.
With all this gratitude going on, it's hard to remember what the fuss is all about, isn't it? Shouldn't I have been grateful for all these people before they spent hundreds of hours consoling, helping, putting my girls to bed, propping me up, helping me get my work done? I should have and I probably wasn't. I may not have been awake enough to realize that I'm part of a family - a large one at that - of people who would give you the shirt off their back if it helped you. I'm ashamed that it took almost losing the love of my life and my only son to help me see.
What I've learned to be most grateful for is the peace in my heart when I think of my wife. Most of you know us to be the ones that won't think twice of telling each other what we think, whenever we feel like it. Sometimes it's downright uncool. Some of you have seen us struggle with our lives in ways that have brought tears to your eyes. There's no rule book for this. There's no guide posts along the trail. When you're cutting a trail with a machete, you're going to nick yourself and others along the way.
But what many of you have never seen, heard or witnessed, is the quiet love that my wife and I share. No matter the surroundings, the problems, it's there like a warm summer breeze.
So, in front of an amazing sunset, with my son as my best man, my girls sprinkling rose petals down the walk, and Dawn and Erik at our sides, Shell and I renewed our vows of love once again. She is my everything, she is my one true love. The one you get, hold on to, treasure your moments with, and never forget the heart racing fear that you may one day not be together on this earth. My advise to all of you is to make damn sure you're with the person you'd go to the end of the earth for and then never, ever let them go.
I share these pictures with you as proof that love endures all things if you only hold on. I share these pictures so the world has proof that love is all you need.